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The potential for using concentrations of dissolved H2 to determine the distribution of redox processes in anoxic groundwaters was evaluated. In pristine aquifers in which standard geochemical measurements indicated that Fe-(III) reduction, sulfate reduction, or methanogenesis was the terminal electron accepting process (TEAP), the H2 concentrations were similar to the H2 concentrations that have previously been reported for aquatic sediments with the same TEAPs. In two aquifers contaminated with petroleum products, it was impossible with standard geochemical analyses to determine which TEAPs predominated in specific locations. However, the TEAPs predicted from measurements of dissolved H2 were the same as those determined directly through measurements of microbial processes in incubated aquifer material. These results suggest that H2 concentrations may be a useful tool for analyzing the redox chemistry of nonequilibrium groundwaters.
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Use of dissolved H2 concentrations to determine distribution of microbially catalyzed redox reactions in anoxic groundwater